Governments and politicians often promise bold infrastructure improvements, yet routinely fail to work together in order to even provide incremental updates to our vast and aging infrastructure. Furthermore, even the most visionary and well stocked investors would be daunted by the paradigm shift necessary for Americans to truly embrace, sustain, and financially reward a whole new mode of transport that requires vast sums of capital outlay with uncertain returns dependent on changing Americans’ finicky behaviors.
Meanwhile, the investment community spurs continued construction of electric transmission lines throughout the US, unleashed by regulatory reforms such as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Order 1000, designed to harness economic competition among utilities in order to reform transmission system planning and to spur construction of $77 billion of incremental transmission investment nationwide between 2008 and 2015. The utility sector makes for a logical Hyperloop One partner, with considerable financial resources, capabilities in designing and constructing large-scale infrastructure, relationships with communities that minimize NIMBY resistance and enable critical right-of-way acquisitions, correlating demand corridors based on geographic population distribution, the need to haul bulky substation equipment quickly according to power system needs, and further potential inter-industrial and technical synergies..
Linked is a high-level concept proposal for a joint EHV/HSR project between the transportation and utility sectors, which I had the opportunity to present to executive leadership of American Electric Power (AEP) for their consideration and feedback. Without yet dictating technical details, it outlines a host of synergies achievable through constructive inter-industrial collaboration, helping boost the prospects of high-speed rail and securing the relevance of electric transmission systems in an uncertain yet exciting clean-energy future.